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NatRoad calls for AdBlue taskforce to handle shortage

Cross-sector body seen as necessary to co-ordinate response


The National Road Transport Association (NatRoad) wants broad cross-sector representation on a high-level task force to manage the fast-looming diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) shortage.

The issue garnered national headlines over the weekend as the spectre of disruption worse than last year’s grocery panics were raised

NatRoad points out that, though road transport would be hit first and hardest when supplies of DEF dry up, the problem was bigger than any one sector.

“NatRoad was pleased with Friday’s meeting with the office of deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce, and the Government does understand the potential for the shortage to bring road freight to a halt,” NatRoad CEO Warren Clark said.

“But this is first and foremost an issue of supply.

“Australia is a big importer of DEF, with 80 percent of the Asia-Pacific needs coming from China which has stopped all exports to stabilise its local market.

“Our trade minister, Dan Tehan, needs to find an alternative source.

“The government needs to establish a task force of industry, with officials from relevant departments, so that we can all manage the shortage in the immediate term.”

Read how the ATA and HVIA are viewing the shortage issues, here

DEF, commonly known by its trade name AdBlue, is used to modify late-model diesel engine operations to take nitric oxide out of their emissions. Without AdBlue, these engines will cease to operate.

“This is going to have impacts on anyone using late model diesel engines – from construction to farmers and eventually motorists,” Clark said.

“Modifying engines as a workaround is both illegal and impractical and expert advice is that this could cause damage.”

Clark added that broad opinion last week that crunch time for road transport will come in late January but that depended on how much DEF was being stockpiled.

“We really don’t know how much is in the supply chain, and a handful of NatRoad members say they could run out as early as this week,” Clark said.

“Diesel exhaust fuel is distributed both at retail bowsers and in bulk, with larger transport companies maintaining their own reserves.

“The government needs to speak to those big operators and distributors and determine exactly how stock remains on hand.”


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